Earlier this week, Dispatch, a Korean ‘news’ site uploaded 4 audio recordings which document JYJ members swearing at fans, as well as physically assaulting them. The recordings were made in 2009 by a network of individuals known as ‘sasaeng fans‘ or ‘privates’. Below is a translation of one of the clips (translation not done by Chienna):
Please note that I did not censor the swear words.
Jaejoong: ‘Following me around…and contacting me…This is fun isn’t it. This is probably really fun for you…Because of you guys…You’re Sasaeng, you dog like bitches [*sound of slapping*]..Fuck…Do I have to live like this? Do I really have to live this way because of you guys? Do you know how many times I’ve had to hit you guys on the head like right now?…in tenfolds…I can’t even count it on my fingers right now. Come back here! Come back here before I catch you! Go, you bitch! Are you crazy?
Oh? you’re going to say you can’t go home because your face is swollen from me hitting you and then I’ll be reported. Fuck, I hit you once so you complain that your face is swollen and can’t go home asking me to compensate for damages…calling the police…Fucking Bitches. Is that a fan? That sucks! Fuck!
To listen to the audio recordings, click the links below.
The audio clips themselves have clearly been edited and therefore may not provide the complete picture; although there is no denying what has been recorded.The boys from JYJ has since addressed this issue during their press conference in Chile. Read what they said here.
Now, ever since I read about JYJ’s incident, I’ve been trying to find a way to present an unbiased account of what has occurred. This post is entitled ‘Perspectives’ because it shows the arguments from the perspective of the fans as well as from JYJ.
Many people argue that by choosing to become a celebrity, you forgo your right to privacy. Reporters may stalk you to take unsavoury photos, or report on a relationship you wanted to keep private. However, the actions of these reporters are still restricted by law. For example, they cannot publish false or defaming articles about you, cannot trespass on private property, cannot physically assault you etc. The same analogy and rules should be applied to fans.
Below are some examples of questionable Sasaeng fan behaviour (validated through photos & screenshots):
Stealing Yoochun’s (Micky) Social Security number and selling it
Physically assaulting DBSK
A prominent incident was when two Chinese Sasaengs swore at Changmin after he and Jaejoong scolded them for taking photos. The curse was:
沈昌珉 神經病 不得好死 (you won’t die in peace)
Sasaeng fans have also hit Changmin with a bag which was speculated to have contained rocks. Junsu said in a recent press conference that fans had tried to kiss him while he was sleeping.
The video below shows a Japanese Sasaeng fan slapping Yoochun across the face:
Chasing after DBSK in private taxi cabs
This particular behaviour has been well documented. The danger of this activity is the reckless nature of the driving, characterised by swerving across lanes and going well beyond the speed limit. As a result, there have been several minor motor vehicle accidents.
Stalking JYJ 24/7 from public places to their homes
Notice the group of fans gathered outside in Xiah’s photo; and the picture of the girl’s face outside Jaejoong’s home.
Other actions are also documented. However, these tend to be the ‘personal accounts’ of current and ex-sasaeng fans, so it is only logical to question their authenticity:
- Attempting to steal DBSK’s personal seal in order to forge marriage documents
- Stalking and approaching DBSK’s family members to offer bribes
- Sending menstrual blood to Xiah
- Breaking Changmin’s pinky finger
- Hacking into their mobile phones
Therefore, while becoming a celebrity will dramatically change your personal life, the celebrity status does not mean that violations of your privacy should be ignored, tolerated or worse: accepted.
The ‘Fans’ Perspective:
I have commonly heard the argument that violence is unacceptable no matter the circumstance; with the exclusion of war, consent and self-defence. I agree with this. However, JYJ fans have argued that the boys are ‘only human‘ and that the sasaeng fans ‘deserved it‘. I disagree with this.
Renee and I actually had a conversation last night, and I asked her: ‘if a random man came up to you and groped you, what would you do?‘. She replied: ‘I would slap him‘. Personally, I would do the same (as well as utter some well chosen swear words). Now, if the same man did that to me more than once, I would call the police. If God forbid he tried to grope my friend, then let’s just say that he will probably need to book a testicle retrieval operation after I’ve finished with him.
Do you think what I did was wrong? Yes, it was wrong but how many of you would have done the same? Therefore, my actions are justifiable, if not excused. I am ‘only human‘ after all.
My answer to the above would have been different if I was an idol. Now, I understand that celebrities have human emotions (anger, hurt, annoyance etc); I am in no way denying their ability to feel these things. However, emotions can and should be regulated in certain circumstances. By becoming a celebrity you adopt a higher level of social responsibility and accountability for your actions. This is because you not only represent yourself, but also the reputation of the band, the record label and the idol ‘profession’ itself. And this is exactly why a teenager dealing drugs would be punished differently to a police officer dealing drugs or to the President of America dealing drugs. Put simply: your social liability increases in proportion to your level of influence and therefore, discretion is paramount.
Hence, the ‘but they’re only human’ argument should not really be used to excuse celebrity behaviour.
At the end of the day, there is a difference between what is a ‘right‘, what is a ‘logical response‘, what is an ‘excuse‘ and what is a ‘wrong‘. It seems difficult to justify putting JYJ’s actions into the first category. However, on another level, this incident perhaps isn’t about whose actions were less ‘questionable’; JYJ’s or the sasaeng fans. Instead, the incident highlights a failure of a legal system to punish offenders as well as a fan culture whose values need moderating and adjusting.
Sorry for the grave tone. What are your thoughts on the incident?